Being convicted of crime does not mean the end of the world. You can always opt to appeal to a higher court through a federal criminal appeal lawyer to improve your chances of being acquitted. An appeal is often the last attempt to have your sentence reduced, or even prove your innocence. This is why it is important to be diligent in choosing from the right criminal appeal attorney to represent your case. Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision when choosing and appellate attorney.
Begin on the Right Note
The need for a criminal appeals lawyer arises only when you are convicted of a criminal offense, either after a trial or due to a plea of guilty. In such a case, it is safe to assume that you have already hired a lawyer, and it is best to ask him for a few recommendations. You can also look on the internet or ask your friends for references and build a credible list of appeal attorneys to represent your case.
Although it may make sense to hire your regular trial lawyer to undertake your appeal, the idea may prove to be counterproductive. For one, the skill sets involved in fighting an appeal is vastly different from that of a trial case. A lawyer specializing in trial cases is simply not experienced or knowledgeable enough to carry out an appeal with the equal finesse of an appellate lawyer. Besides, having a fresh set of eyes on the case files will ensure a new angle of approach, which can be used to give better results.
Evaluating the Lawyer
When interviewing prospective lawyers, it is important to ask them all the right questions. For instance, ask about the years spent in practicing and their success rates, especially pertaining to cases similar to yours. You can also request for samples of a few of the briefs they’ve written, which will give you an idea on how the lawyer works.
Keeping Track of Lawyer Fees
The appellate lawyer usually charges an hourly fee or a flat fee, based on a number of factors such as the length of the trial, availability of transcripts, codefendants of the case, the sentence issued by the court, etc. The fees will also depend on if the notice of appeal has already been filed or not; because, if you haven’t filed a notice of appeal on time, you may lose the right to appeal.
The criminal appeal attorney will be responsible for writing the brief and a reply brief before arguing your appeal. You will have to get the lawyer to sign an agreement that he will file a petition for re-hiring if you lose (only if the courts permit). You will usually be charged extra for this, and it pays to have the finances sorted before you hire your lawyer.
All the best in your search for reliable criminal appeal attorneys in Houston